Speaker technology advances?


Active Member

Has general quality of speakers significantly improved in the last few years. Has there been technological changes that make newly released speakers better than the discontinued products they replace or is it just marketing.

The reason I am asking is that I have been looking at discounted speakers around and I am wondering if I would be making a mistake by buying an old model rather than the current crop.

For example, Richer Sounds was clearing up the Mission 704a for £200 recently (original rrp well above 700). Hyperfi still has some Celestion A1 for a fraction of the original rrp, about the same money as a B&W 602S3 and less than a Quad 11L. How would you rate these discontinued speakers.



Certainly if you are looking at individual brands (Kef, B&W etc) - they obviously do extensive R and D, and like most humans get better at what they do the more they do it; hence, their speakers are always improving from speaker generation to generation...


Novice Member
Buying second hand or discontinued models is a very good way of obtaining excellent value for money. In the area of speakers, there have been plenty of new incremental improvements in speaker design, but it's debatable whether speakers today actually sound any better than speakers from 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Some of the best-respected speakers in the world are the Quad ESL-63's, which were produced in the early 80's.

I would suggest that the best speakers of 10-20 years ago will still be better than most speakers today. I suspect the biggest improvements over the years come in the budget area, and in the the extreme high end. IME pair of speakers costing say £100 today will tend to sound a lot better than a speaker worth a similar amount (adjusted for inflation) from 20 years ago. Same goes for the very high end - your £10+K speakers. I suspect the very best speakers produced today sound better than the very best of 20 years ago.

But in the mid to high-end - say £500 to 1500 - I would suggest that some of the best speakers around in that sort of level are so-called "classic" models. There are plenty of modern speakers that will compete - and probably some that will better them - but I doubt there's too much in it.

When it comes to models from, say, 5 years back, I would be very surprised if they sounded significantly poorer than modern ones - and they can often be found heavily discounted.

Anyway, that's all IMHO and IME of course. I'd be interested in hearing other people's opinions.


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